Barrie Jean Borich on the Craft of Writing Queer

Borich considers what we ignore when we talk about blurring the boundaries of writing @ Brevity. When I discovered creative nonfiction I’d just turned thirty, was self-schooled in queer and activist literatures, newly in love with the woman who is still my spouse, newly sober, even newly tattooed, and recently returned to university. I’d dropped… Read more »

Jenny Diski on Being a Proper Writer

Diski, who has published over fifteen books, wonders what it means to be a writer today @ Berfois. ‘All pens are filled with potential’. So begins an advertisement in the Guardian newspaper for its ‘new idea’. The paper is offering weekend masterclasses in creative writing and publishing, taught by novelists (‘discover the novelist within’), historical… Read more »

Robert Boyers: What is a Political Novel?

Boyers considers the politics of literary work @ Lapham’s Quarterly. Most of us suppose that we know politics when we see it. Bertrand Russell, for one, thought he was saying the obvious when he declared that “politics is concerned with herds rather than with individuals.” Others note that politics always entails a struggle for power, often… Read more »

Thinking Like Harpo

Matt Longabucco discovers the pleasures and theories of useless actions in The Anatomy of Harpo Marx by Wayne Koestenbaum. (University of California Press) Too bad about humiliation. Otherwise I’d have the guts to buck convention and call the author “Wayne” throughout this review, the better to emphasize the way he’s no less singular than his subject,… Read more »

Thomas Heise on Fitzgerald’s Depression

Heise reflects on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s failures @ Berfrois. After forty, all life is a matter of saving face. For those whose successes have run out early, the years are measured less by the decreasing increments of honors achieved, than by the humiliations staved off and the reversals slowed. Among our canonical twentieth-century writers, none… Read more »